How to delete and deactivate a Snapchat account

How to delete and deactivate a Snapchat account

Nothing lasts forever, and certainly not in the land of Snapchat, the app that first popularised the idea of photos, videos and messages that fade away after a certain number of seconds.

If you’ve had enough of this impermanence and want to switch to something a little more lasting, deleting and deactivating your Snapchat account isn’t difficult to do, but you are going to open up a web browser – at the moment you can’t actually delete your account from inside the apps for Android and iOS.

You also get a month between account deactivation and account deletion, in case you change your mind.

1. Visit the delete account page

The special Snapchat delete account support website will handle all of your Snapchat account deleting needs is , so fire up a web browser and type it in. You can use a browser app on your phone if you don’t have access to a computer.

First of all you need to log in using your Snapchat credentials – if you’ve forgotten them (maybe that’s why you’re deleting your account) then click the ‘Forgot your password?’ link to get a reset link sent to your inbox.

This online login is only for deleting your account by the way, and you can’t look at your trophies or snaps on the web.

2. Recover your username and password

If you’ve forgotten your username or the email address you registered with Snapchat you can find them both from inside the app. If you tap the ghost icon at the top of the capture screen your username appears (just below your real name) and you can tap the cog icon (top right) to see your email address and other account details.

Assuming you’ve got all your credentials ready one way or another, enter them into the login page, tick the captcha box to prove you’re a real flesh and blood human being, and click the Log In button.

3. Make up your mind about deleting the Snapchat account

Snapchat gives you another chance to change your mind so take a moment and consider whether you can really live without the app in your life.

Note too the details about how the process works – as soon as you complete these steps, your Snapchat account is deactivated, which means other people won’t be able to contact you through the app. Another 30 days after that, your Snapchat account is deleted forever, which means your details vanish for good.

Presuming you’re happy to proceed, enter your username and password again (your browser might have remembered them for you) and click ‘Continue’.

4. Check for confirmation

You’re all done – your account is deactivated. You’ll get a confirmation message sent to your registered email address from Team Snapchat explaining what happens next, and reminding you that you’ve got 30 days if you happen to change your mind.

Because everything is handled over the web, the process is the same whether you’re using Snapchat on Android or iOS, but you’ll want to remove the Snapchat app from your phone as well (you don’t need to log out first).

On iOS, tap and hold the Snapchat app icon then press the cross symbol. On recent versions of Android, tap and hold the app icon and drag it up to the Uninstall button.

5. Changed your mind? Reactivate your Snapchat account

You can bring your Snapchat account back from digital death at any point over the 30-day window by logging back into the app. Your friends list should still be there too.

Launch Snapchat again and you’ll notice you’ve been logged out, even if you didn’t uninstall the app in the meantime. Tap Log In, enter your original details (your username might have been remembered for you), and then tap Log In again.

A message appears asking if you want to reactivate your account so tap Yes. Snapchat puts the wheels in motion and if you wait a few minutes then log in again you should be back in Snapchat business (you also get an email when your account is ready to use again).

End of Life Doulas Matter

End of Life Doulas Matter

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You might have heard the word ‘doula’ and thought of a birth coach, as people often seek support to bring a new life into the world, but what about when we are preparing to die? The answer is doulas that are trained to help the dying, a profession that often scares and fascinates people simultaneously.

Death Doulas give different kind of services – anything from being a companion at a bedside, providing practical support for the family or aiding conversations with the person’s doctor, which will then help with making decisions about treatment. Some dying persons simply have a fear of death and need to talk and share with someone who is not afraid of discussing such issues. End of Life Doulas report that these relationships can last months, or even years.

The demand for death doulas is currently on the rise because more people prefer to die at home, at their own terms. Also, the growing number of terminally ill people with life threatening illnesses facing the end of life alone, without significant support from family or friends contributed to the demand.

End of life services are designed to help people plan for or manage their own or their loved ones’ end of life. End of life doulas are usually caregivers with extended knowledge and skills that support persons approaching the end of life and help them put together comprehensive plans for their own deaths.

Today, dying persons and their family members wish more than ever to be involved in the end of life process and through advanced planning they specify medical treatments they wish to receive, organize their medical or legal affairs, create rituals, complete final wishes and in many terminally ill cases, choose and plan the method of their death. End of Life Doulas help make the actual dying process as comfortable and efficient as possible for dying persons and their families, as many people find it emotionally hard dealing with these kind of arrangements.

An End of life Doula provides support and care for those who are dying. It is a person who accompanies an individual on their final journey. It’s not like hospice since there’s no administration of medication. An end of life doula is only there to soothe the passage from the known world into whatever an individual believes awaits them. Many organizations have created end of life doula training workshops and classes to embody what they believe would enable the aspiring doula to be most effective in assisting those who have lived a long journey and ready to rest in peace.

In the same way as mothers to be are encouraged to make a birth plan, it is also helpful for the person approaching the time of their death to make a plan to help them feel more in control, to provide a framework for making important choices, and to help give them the courage needed to ask for what they want in an environment where they might otherwise feel out of control.

This point of transition both in and out of life is often attended by much vulnerability; it is frequently surrounded by fear of the unknown and calls for a state of focused preparation. Doulagivers know how to hold the space for the person in transition, know how to encourage the process of letting go, of easing transitions with both gentleness and grace.

How I learned to live forever

How I learned to live forever

Say goodbye to having to die.
Say goodbye to having to die.

When my grandmother passed away this year, I was devastated. She may have been in her late 80s, but her sunny personality and boundless energy made it seem like she’d would probably just live forever.

My grandma was what you’d call a “silver surfer.” From the moment she inherited her daughter’s old laptop, she embraced the internet like a digital native. It wasn’t long before we were helping her set up a Facebook profile which she used to happily spend hours sharing cute animals videos and writing us sweet messages ALWAYS WRITTEN ENTIRELY IN CAPS. I gave up explaining to her that this amounted to constant shouting. She liked it that way.

A few months after she’d passed away, I was a bit shocked to see her picture pop up in my notifications, reminding me that it was her birthday. I hadn’t forgotten, but it saddened me to imagine other family members whose grief was still very raw receiving similar messages. I had thought—perhaps naively—that since Facebook knew enough about my life and habits to bombard me with targeted advertisements it would also know my grandmother was no longer with us. But the bots didn’t have a clue.

I looked up the procedure to report a death to Facebook, and requested that her account be “memorialized.” This means that nobody can log in to the account again, but her posts remain visible to the people they were originally shared with, and friends and family can continue to share memories on her timeline. I wanted to digitally preserve the memory of my grandmother.

After making my request I almost immediately received a response from someone in Facebook’s community operations team asking me to send them her death certificate. Their response struck me as strange and insensitive—like I was making it up for some reason. Since I didn’t have that document (my grandmother lived in Brazil and I didn’t handle the funeral arrangements), I argued that they should be able to verify her passing through the evidence available on their own platform. Facebook eventually agreed, but I can’t say it was a particularly pleasant process.

Technology is currently challenging our conceptualization of what it means to live—and die.“The tech industry is not really up on death,” says Stacey Pitsillides, a design lecturer at the University of Greenwich who is a PhD candidate in the field of data contextualization in digital death. Since starting her research several years ago, Pitsillides says she’s witnessed a remarkable shift: People are becoming increasingly eager to immortalize personal experiences online, just as I had felt after my grandmother’s passing.

This observation prompted her to set up Love After Death, a panel showcased at FutureFest in London to help people explore how technology is becoming integrated into new forms of creative expressions around death and dying. I met Pitsillides at FutureFest, a festival of ideas sponsored by innovation charity NESTA, to discuss the concept of digital legacies.

Technology is currently challenging our conceptualization of what it means to live—and die. Pitsillides believes that technology and design will play an increasingly important role in the process of morning, which she calls “creative bereavement.” “By creating a bespoke legacy agreement, it merges the concept of a design agency with funeral director,” she said.

To illustrate this, Pitsillides started by taking me through a questionnaire that asked me things ranging from the practical (which loved ones should be informed of my death, and would I like to setup a database of music, art, or poetry to be used at my funeral?) to the weird and outlandish (would my friends like to do an online vigil through live webcasting where I could be present via hologram, and how about having a memorial implant or tattoo?)

But wait—holograms? Memorial implants? Was this for real?

In the future, yes.

Death by Design

“You could have a surface-level or below-skin digital tattoo that could be matched to that of a loved one,” Pitsillides explained. Using simple technologies, you could add content to these digital mementos throughout your life and then have them activated after your death. This activation could either be triggered by the executor of your will—over 19 US states have already put forward laws to recognize the deceased’s digital legacy as part of their estate—or we could evolve AI systems to recognize cues when this should happen. At that point, certain content could become available to the people you’d predetermined, depending on the stipulations you left in your digital will.

It’s basically the futuristic, high-tech version of wearing half of your lover’s heart-shaped locket. These tattoos and implants could even be programmed to trigger only in the context of certain events. For example, when walking past the special spot where a now-passed husband proposed to his wife, his widow’s digital tattoo could change color or bloom into the pattern of her favorite flower, and “their” song could start playing on her phone. Or a father could still “be there” to deliver the speech at his daughter’s wedding via hologram, or greet the arrival of his first grandchild with a pre-recorded message.

An increasingly popular service is using 3D printing to create personalized mementos for your friends and family using human ashes.While these memorialization usages are still conceptual, the technology itself is already fairly mature. For example, we already have technology that allows for smart epidermal electronics to collect and record information about users, reacting to this data in a wide variety of programmable ways: Think of IoT devices like Dexcom that continuously monitor glucose levels for diabetes patients, allowing them to track their blood sugar via apps linked to wearables like the Apple Watch. Instead of being focused on what our minds and bodies are doing in the present moment, these tactile technologies could help us build and enhance connections with people both during life and after death.

As more people embrace the idea that death in the digital age is not just about looking back at the past, they will begin to realize that it’s just as much about the future. We’re already seeing people grapple with this concept in terms of what happens to our bodies after we die. Nowadays your ashes can be turned into building blocks for a coral reef or a beautiful fireworks display, but there’s a whole other after-world emerging courtesy of technology. For example, an increasingly popular service is using 3D printing to create personalized mementos for your friends and family using human ashes.

The Talking Dead

Since such a large percentage of our lives and interactions are now conducted online, we are constantly forced to reassess our meaning of self and identity. Is our online identity the most accurate reflection of our true selves? And, if so, can it “live” independently from our physical bodies?

The answer is potentially yes. The connections we build and share can—now quite literally—take on a life of their own. For example, websites like LifeNaut offer services that allow you to create a “mind file” that supposedly enables future scenarios around reanimation through “downloading” your memories to a robot or clone vessel of some sort. We might not yet be at the stage where robotics and AI enable the Black Mirror scenario where life-like replicants of loved ones can be created from their social media profiles. But it’s no exaggeration to say that, for better or for worse, our digital footprint already outlives our biological self.

“We are moving toward a society where the dead are not banished but remain present in our lives as sources of guidance, role models, and as an embodiment of particular values and life lessons,” Pitsillides said.

But is that what we really want? The ability to live forever through technology raises difficult questions such as whether it is our memories that make us who we are, whether our loved ones would accept this “new” version of us, and who should control consent to make these kinds of decisions after death. This kind of permanence may be appealing for some, but for others the possibility of a digital presence continuously and independently evolving is quite disturbing.

Most of us avoid thinking about our own mortality until it stares us in the face. As someone who spends most of my time online, I’m unsettled by this idea of not being in control of my online persona once I die—even if I wouldn’t be in a position to care, at that point. But having experienced the enduring joy that my grandmother’s Facebook memories have brought to our family, it makes me think that my digital legacy is something worth preserving. And now I have the first steps to know how to do just that.

You can follow Alice on Twitter at @AliceBonasio. We welcome your comments at

The Importance of Backing Up Your Files

The Importance of Backing Up Your Files

Backing up audio files in a tape archive
Photo credit: Jorge Gonzalez under CC License
Am I at risk of losing important data?

If you regularly use a personal computer, or even a tablet device, then data corruption and file loss may have been headaches you’ve dealt with in the past – and even if they haven’t, they’re very real problems that could affect you in the future. There are over a billion PCs in use worldwide, according to statistics released by Gartner, and other reports indicate that over 10% of them crash every single day.

We live in an age in which our computers are more and more central to our lives. But a 2008 study by Webroot shows that 20% of all PC users never back up their files, while a further 12% back them up less than once a year. This results in a huge loss of information, including photographs, music, addresses, and phone numbers, as well as important business documents and résumés. More than two in five PC users have permanently lost files at some point in their lives.

A computer crash is usually the reason behind file or data loss, but you may also lose files due to viruses, theft, software corruption or even natural disasters. The top ten most common causes of data loss among computer users are:

  1. Accidental deletion
  2. Computer viruses and malware
  3. Physical damage
  4. Accidental reformatting
  5. Head crashes
  6. Logical errors
  7. Continued use after signs of failure
  8. Power failure
  9. Firmware corruption
  10. Natural disasters
Can I recover lost files?

While you may be able to recover some lost files, this process can be both costly and time-consuming. The best solution is to preempt file loss, and prevent it from ever becoming a serious problem, by backing up your files. This way, if your PC does crash and your data becomes corrupted, you can simply reload the most recent backup to restore the data.

You can back up files on a CD, DVD, or even an external hard drive. You can even find software that can automate the process of backing up for you, so that you don’t have to worry about doing it manually – Windows users can take advantage of Microsoft’s free backup software, or, if you prefer, third-party developers such as Acronis and Code42 have published their own alternatives.

If you’d prefer not to back up your files onto physical storage, then you can use a service such as Dropbox to back your files up online.

What are the advantages of backing up my computer online?

If you back up your files online, they’re stored on a cloud server. This way, you can access your files from any computer in any place in the world, and at any time. This is a useful way to keep track of important files across multiple computers – you can work on a document on one computer at home, then edit it again later from a different computer at work, all without having to worry about copying the latest version onto a flash drive.

Online backups also allow you to share your files more easily with your friends and family. Even if a file is too large to attach to an email, you can send the recipient a direct link to the file’s location in the cloud instead, and they’ll be able to view and download it. And if you’re part of a group project at work, you can create a backup which everybody has permission to edit, allowing the entire team to easily view and modify the latest versions of shared documents.

Backing up files using an external hard drive
Photo credit: Roman Soto under CC License
We will not unfriend our Facebook friends after they die according to new report

We will not unfriend our Facebook friends after they die according to new report

Facebook is being used more and more as a tool to remember and mourn the deceased, and keep their memory alive for posterity.

According to new research for Dying Matters, many British adults would not unfriend someone they know on Facebook – even after that person has died.

ComRes, a member of the British Polling Council surveyed over 2,085 adults living in the UK between the 15th and 17th April 2016.

Its dataset was weighted to be representative of all UK adults aged over 18.

The survey found that only 8 percent of people would unfriend their connection soon afterwards when someone they know on Facebook dies. 40 percent would maintain the friend connection.

The survey also found that 50 percent of people did not agree that Facebook is a good way of sharing news of a death beyond the immediate circle of family and friends.

26 percent of people thought it was a good way of sharing news of a death beyond the immediate circle of family and friends

21 percent thought that Facebook was the best way to share news of a terminal diagnosis beyond close friends and family. However 58 percent disagreed with the method.

Younger people are more likely to be comfortable sharing such news on Facebook than older Facebook users.

25 percent of Facebook users ages from 18-24-year-olds agreed that they would share that they knew they were dying on Facebook. This percentage rose to 31 percent for 25-34-year-olds.

The most employable technologists of the future will be the ones who can see the bigger picture, understand business, and adapt to the sweeping changes in tech.

Interestingly, men are slightly more likely to unfriend someone on Facebook soon after that person’s death.

10 percent agreed that they would, compared with 7 percent of women.

The survey also shows that there are limits to what we are willing to share on Facebook.

Age plays a large factor in what we share online.

For example, only 11 percent of those over the age of 65 would inform their Facebook friends of their condition if the prognosis was terminal.

This research highlights that our willingness to share personal information such as diagnosed conditions, and areas relating to end of life will increase in the coming years.

After death, Facebook becomes a memorial to that person with friends and family contributing to memories of the deceased person.

James Norris of the Digital Legacy Association said “This shows how important Facebook is as a tool to remember and mourn the deceased.

That so few people would unfriend someone on Facebook after their death gives us a small indication as to the importance Facebook is providing into posterity.”